Ask the Health Expert – The Cannabis Conundrum

The latest product to burst into the news in the Natural Health marketplace is CBD oil. CBD stands for cannabidiol which is one of 113 cannabinoids identified as naturally occurring in the cannabis plant, and constitutes 40% of the plant extracts. Cannabis Sativa is the Latin name for cannabis or hemp and cannabinoids are the natural chemical constituents found in all plants of this genus.

CBD is one of the most intensively researched cannabinoids and is non psychoactive and is different from tetrahydrocannabinol which is THC that is responsible for the “high” in marijuana. Hemp only contains 0.3% THC. Marijuana and hemp are both cannabis and marijuana is the name given to cannabis strains with THC and those strains without THC are classified as hemp.

Hemp seed oil is extracted from hemp seeds which contain as much as half their weight in oil. This oil, extracted by a cold pressed process, is the oil generally used for cooking and taken for its antioxidants and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and is not the same as CBD oil. Extracting CBD oil from hemp involves harvesting the plant when the flowers are very small, thus requiring large quantities of plant material. For this reason CBD products are much more expensive than hemp seed oil and medical marijuana. However CBD oil contains much greater numbers of beneficial compounds with positive and effective health benefits.

Our bodies have a biological system composed of endocannabinoids (endo meaning internal), which originate within the body and are composed of fat based retrograde neurotransmitters which bind to cannabinoid receptors in the body. The two main receptors have been identified as CB1 receptors which are found in the brain and central nervous system, and CB2 receptors which are present in the peripheral tissues of the immune system and in the spleen, tonsils, and thymus gland. They are localized on immune cells such as monocytes, macrophages, B-cells and T-cells. CB2 receptors are also abundant in the gastrointestinal system and are therapeutic targets for inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. CBD has an affinity for the CB2 receptors and binds to them as well as having many other complicated relationships with other receptors. The actual function of the CB2 receptors is too complicated to deal with here without causing confusion, but suffice to say the effect of CBD binding on leukocytes, T-cell signaling, inflammation and neuropathic pain is remarkable. Alzheimer’s disease is triggered by beta-amyloid plaque and its removal is greatly accelerated by CBD.

A 2012 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology notes that CBD appears to block cancer cells from spreading throughout the body and can suppress their growth and trigger their death. Other studies have shown that CBD can reduce anxiety in disorders such as PTSD, general anxiety, panic disorders, seizures, epilepsy, and OCD. Type 1 diabetes is caused by inflammation when the immune system attacks the pancreas. Research posted in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation shows that CBD can reduce this inflammation.

At the present time it is difficult to gauge dosages, as CBD oil comes in many different strengths, and measuring standards. Concentrations of these oils vary from 1 milligram per dose to hundreds of milligrams per dose. There are different methods of extraction for pulling CBD from the plant. Harsh solvents can be detrimental to the body but CO2 extraction is cleaner and healthier. It must be noted that there are notable differences between CBD derived from hemp and that derived from marijuana. CBD derived from marijuana with THC of 3% or more is only legal in Canada with a prescription from a licensed supplier and CBD oil with THC less than .3% is legal for personal use, but not legal for resale without a NPN number from Health Canada.

If you can find an oil with proper milligram measures, then I suggest 2.5 mg to 20 mg by mouth for an average of 25 days for chronic pain. For epilepsy 200mg to 300 mg by mouth daily seems to be the recommended dosage, 40 mg to 160 mg at night for sleep.

The present situation in Canada concerning sale of CBD oil is still under discussion in view of the new laws legalizing marijuana. The Canadian Health Food Association, of which I am a member, is in discussion with Health Canada and the government to formulate the new rules with regard to the resale of CBD oil. I look forward to the establishment of a system where people will have the right to determine their choices for products to enhance their journey to optimum health.

Written By: Nathalie McNeill, Fountain Head Health Food Store

Author: Living Spaces

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